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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeJun 12th 2019
     
    Posted By: djhyou come out onto that corridor and walk along it to a flight of stairs and possibly a broken lift with unpleasant smells inside it.


    Yes; when I was walking the Aylesbury Estate many many years ago, they were called "walkways", I seem to think (despite the fact that Wiki refers to "balconies"). Certainly Corridors Not...

    gg
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJun 12th 2019
     
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenMore examples https://www.bregroup.com/projects-reports/fire-safety-issues-with-balconies/

    That's a good report. The last sentence is particularly telling:

    "As such, despite no specific requirement in Part B of the Building Regulations (with the exception of means of escape balconies), property developers, designers, specifiers, managers and risk assessors all need to be mindful of the potential fire risks associated with fires on balconies from their incorporation into the building especially from the materials used to meet other Building Regulations requirements (e.g. Part L)."

    Another part that really stood out was:

    "Evidence would suggest that whilst fires on balconies appear to be increasing they have not impacted on life safety. This information would therefore suggest that there is no life safety basis to currently support changing the requirements."

    That indicates a rather unfortunate attitude.
    • CommentAuthorlineweight
    • CommentTimeJun 13th 2019
     
    It's a fairly long standing principle that the building regs are there to protect safety, while protection of property is dealt with via insurance etc.

    But it seems an odd conclusion. Just because balcony fires so far haven't led to loss of life - doesn't mean that they couldn't in future.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJun 13th 2019
     
    Well, no but it does mean there's no evidence of it, and in the 'evidence-based' mind-set of public servants these days, that's enough. It's like trying to get road improvements for safety; unless somebody has been killed, nothing happens.

    The regs/guidance themselves though talk about preventing fires getting larger as an aim in itself and that seems a much more sensible point of view. Maybe we're going to get to a world in which you legally have to build to a set of standards (i.e. BR) that supposedly protect life and then you have to build to another set of standards if you want to get insurance, much like you have to build to NHBC guidelines if you want a warranty. The problem with that is that commercial standards get even less scrutiny than public ones, and can be much harder to challenge.
    • CommentAuthorlineweight
    • CommentTimeJun 13th 2019
     
    Well, I noticed that in the consultation documents posted earlier in the thread, one of the questions that was asked was whether the approach of BRs only concerning themselves with safety to life should be reconsidered.

    Quite true about road safety; I'm engaged in attempts to get safety improvements to a road outside my place where people are constantly speeding despite a supposed 20mph limit. I frequently observe crashes but we have to wait for someone to actually get killed before anything like a speed camera would be considered.
    • CommentAuthorMike1
    • CommentTimeJun 13th 2019
     
    It has, of course, been the policy of many Governments over the past few decades to cut regulations; for example:
    https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/cameron-claims-victory-in-bonfire-of-the-building-regulations/8658068.article
    https://metro.co.uk/2017/06/16/government-ministers-congratulated-themselves-for-cutting-fire-regulations-6713967/
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/house-building-sector-cutting-red-tape-review
    https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/one-in-two-out-statement-of-new-regulation
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTimeJun 14th 2019
     
    Posted By: lineweightWhich would imply that any windows and doors in that wall should be fire rated and possibly self-closing.

    But generally the only time you see fire rated glazing is when it's captured under the B4 requirements which are to do with how close it is to another building (rather than another compartment in the same building).


    It always struck me looking at Grenfell, that the fire was easily able to jump the compartments through the UPVC windows, which were part of the refurb replacing metal framed windows. On the basis that the walls themselves were concrete, had the windows been fire rated (and mounted in the walls rather than the cladding system), the fire could not have so easily penetrated the flats above. Yes the fire would have migrated upwards through the cladding, but there is the possibility it would have exhausted it's fuel at that level before the windows failed. At the very least it should have offered more time to evacuate.
  1.  
    I don't know much about this but I had understood that most of the pvc window frames at Grenfell survived and are visible in the photos. However the glass failed of course, also many people had windows open because it was June and that's the only ventilation in the flat. Hopefully the inquiry will look at this.

    Edit: the Standard published pages of a BRE report that discusses this
    https://static-standard-co-uk.cdn.ampproject.org/i/s/static.standard.co.uk/s3fs-public/thumbnails/image/2018/04/16/16/grenfellreport05.jpg?width=1368&height=912&fit=bounds&format=pjpg&auto=webp&quality=70
    • CommentAuthorlineweight
    • CommentTimeJun 26th 2019
     
    The government have issued an "advice note" where they take the position that balconies are covered by the general requirements in the regs.

    There's no comment on how explicit, or not, this is made in the AD guidelines.


    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/811194/Advice_on_Balconies_on_Residential_Buildings.pdf

    *******

    1.2.The department’s position, endorsed by the Expert Panel, is that the building regulations required that the material and construction of balconies should have been such that balconies should not compromise resident safety by providing a means of external fire spread, even before the introduction of the ban on combustible materials in December 2018. We have previously issued Advice Note 14, which advises building owners to ensure they have assessed the risks with regards to external walls, and this note clarifies the advice in relation to balconies.



    2.1.Balcony fires can spread to the adjacent balconies or into the building. If combustible materials have been used in the balcony or external wall system, it is possible that fire may spread rapidly across the façade. The risk is increased if combustible materials are used extensively (i.e. in floors and facades of balconies and in certain geometries).
    This Advice Note provides advice on the risks arising from balconies on residential buildings.
    This Advice Note is written for residents and building owners of residential buildings with multiple dwellings (i.e. blocks of flats), although the principles may also apply to other building types.
    Advice Note on Balconies on Residential Buildings
    2.2. Paragraph B4 of Schedule 1 of the Building Regulations 2010 sets out that:
    “the external walls of the building shall adequately resist the spread of fire over the walls and from one building to another, having regard to the height, use and location of the building”.
    2.3.Approved Document B paragraph 12.5 also sets out that “The external envelope of a building should not provide a medium for fire spread if it is likely to be a risk to health or safety.”
    2.4. The department’s view, endorsed by the Expert Panel, is that these provisions apply to buildings regardless of height and that building owners need to ensure that any balconies do not compromise resident safety by providing a means of external fire spread.
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